I wrote the following on 8/7/2021 and saved the draft until I was ready to share it with the world.
Right around Thanksgiving last year I got a call letting me know that my older sister – the middle child of 5 children and the middle born sister – had been diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder. She was told her odds of beating it were good, but not great. In April things were still going well and she was through chemo and was scheduled for surgery to finally remove her gall bladder and part of her liver. When they went in, they found tumors where that had not been found before. Nothing was removed and biopsies where taken. They did some more testing and she was accepted into another therapy program with okay odds. Then last month she went into the hospital again after become very ill. They thought it was the new form of therapy causing the issue. It was not. It was the beginning of the end.
Carol and I took a trip together before Covid hit in February of 2020. After she dropped me off from the trip, because of COVID and the cancer, I did not see her again until last Sunday, the 1st of August. Sure, we talked on the phone from time to time, but not face to face.
So Sunday afternoon I went to the hospital to say goodbye. I did not say the actual word ‘Goodbye”, but we both knew “I love you” meant so much more. I promised her some things, things I will spend the rest of my life doing for her.
Today, not one week later, she is gone. The decline was rapid, and I am thankful that her suffering is over. She is rejoicing in being Home with her Savior and is reunited with our mom.
Last Saturday evening, when I knew what was coming the next day, I tried to gather my thoughts “on paper” so I would be prepared to tell her what needed to be said. The poem I’m sharing below just flowed out of me. (My mom was the poet in the family. I’ve never done much with trying to write this kind of thing, because it always felt forced.) I’ve tinkered a very little with it, but this is a peek into my heart, as raw as it can be.
July 31st, 2021
One Last Time
How do you say goodbye to a sister? Where do the words come from that can even begin to express the love you have in your heart?
Tomorrow I go and see my sister for probably the very last time. Sure, I’ll try, and I know I will cry, but the words won’t be enough.
I’ve had one of these conversations before, when my mom was failing. It was so hard. I didn’t say enough then. How could anyone ever say enough?
Maybe it’s the tears that speak. They are a liquid testament to the emotions of pain, loss, sorrow, and grief. Maybe.
It’s just too soon. Much too soon. We were supposed to have more years to call and talk to each other on the phone. We needed to take another trip together. We needed more time to just be sisters.
I know someday we will see each other again and we will have an eternity with our Father in glory. I just wanted more time here in this earthly home.
But tomorrow will have to do, because that is what is granted to my sister and me. I will take this gift, of one more time, to say what I can say. I wasn’t sure I would have the chance to say goodbye. But I do.
All I can do is try.
And tell my sister that I love her.
One last time.